In an interview to be aired on Thursday, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Al Jazeera English that he “did not know…that torture was going on” in the Bush administration. In retrospect, if he knew about the mistreatment, Armitage said he would have resigned:
Q: So when you knew that the administration of which you were a part was departing from the Geneva Conventions and sidelining them, why didn’t you quit?
ARMITAGE: In hindsight maybe I should’ve. But in those positions you see how many more battles you have. You maybe fool yourself. You say how much worse would x, y, or z be if I weren’t here trying to do it? So torture is a matter of principle as far as I’m concerned. I hope, had I known about it at the time I was serving, I would’ve had the courage to resign.
Armitage has previously been waterboarded as part of SERE training, saying in 2008 that he “absolutely” believes the practice is torture. “I’m ashamed that we’re even having this discussion,” he said of the debate over torture.